Gone but not forgotten
LAHORE: “Usually, I go to church once in a year either on Easter or Christmas but today I was at the Cathedral half an hour before the special service for Edhi Sahib was to start,” says a middle-aged man at Gulshan-i-Iqbal.
Employed as a janitorial worker at a commercial plaza along The Mall, Emanuel had come from Pakistan Mint area to the Allama Iqbal Town park to attend the funeral prayers in absentia of the late philanthropist, arranged by the Lahore chapter of Edhi Foundation.
Some 15 years ago, Emanuel’s mother died of tuberculosis at Gulab Devi Hospital. The hospital administration expressed its inability to provide ambulance for the transportation of the body to his ancestral village in Gojra.
“The private ambulance service people also refused when told that I am a Christian, having even not enough money to arrange the last rituals of my mother. A sweeper of the infirmary advised me to go to the Edhi camp at the General Hospital. The men at the camp offered condolences and asked me not to worry. They not only took the body to my village but also arranged burial without charging even a single rupee.
“I shall always be indebted to Edhi Sahib,” says a tearful Emanuel who was among a large number of people who offered the funeral prayers in absentia of the late philanthropist.
Meanwhile, members of the Christian community turned up in large numbers at churches in Lahore to offer special prayers for a national hero, a humanitarian and the founder of one of the largest welfare foundations.
The Civil Society Network also arranged a candlelit vigil at Charing Cross on The Mall to pay tributes to the late Abdul Sattar Edhi. Carrying pictures of the iconic social worker, the participants also observed one-minute silence.